Monday 13th January 2013
LQ: Can you explain the journey of
a river from source to mouth?
The Amazon river
Today we are going to investigate the
journey of a river. We will look at where
and how rivers start and the journey
they take across the land to a larger
body of water.
The Danube river
Where do rivers begin? How do
rivers begin?
We are going to watch a short clip
which explains how rivers can begin.
BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips Rivers and the water cycle Geography Video
The Ganges river
Clouds release their rain over
the hills.
Most of this soaks into
the ground to become
Some groundwater comes
to the surface to form
Who can tell
me how
rivers begin?
Springs join together to
make streams.
As the streams trickle
down the hillside they join
together, getting bigger as
they go, until they become
The journey of a river can be
divided into three sections:
The Yangtze river
The Upper Course
The upper course of a river starts at the
source, this is where the river begins.
A river's journey - the upper course
Springs go on
to form
The Middle Course
On either side of the middle course of the river are
floodplains, these areas are flat and often become flooded
when heavy rainfall causes the river to overflow. Sometimes
another river (a tributary) will join a river; the joining point is
called a confluence.
A river's journey - the middle course
Original river
(joining river)
The river widens to allow for the extra water that the joining river
The Middle Course – Meanders
A meander is a large bend in the river. If a
river floods, the neck of the meander becomes
flooded and the river will take this route –
rivers take the shortest route.
Over time the neck of the meander will become
the new path of the river, soil will be deposited
by the river and the meander will be cut of
completely and end up forming an ox bow lake.
A river's journey - meanders & ox bow lakes
River takes
is cut off
and ox
bow lake
The Lower Course
The lower course of the river leads to the mouth of the river; the mouth
of the river is where the river meets the sea. The lower course of the
river has larger meanders. The river has energy and so carries less
material, it deposits the soil and other materials which eventually form
small islands or deltas.
A river's journey - the lower course
BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips - River Tay - lower course and estuary - Geography
Key Words
Source – the beginning of a river.
Groundwater – rain that soaks into the ground.
Spring – groundwater that comes up to the surface.
Stream – a small river.
River – a large natural stream of water.
Floodplain – area of flat land either side, likely to flood.
Confluence – the point where a tributary joins a river.
Tributary – a stream or river that joins another river.
Meander – a bend in a river.
Ox bow lake – a lake created when a meander is cut off.
Mouth – the place where a river meets the sea.
Delta – a small island created by deposited material (soil).
Let’s test our knowledge!
Let’s help Martin on his journey down
the river Nile by answering questions
about rivers.
Help Martin raise money for charity by
floating down the Nile on a rubber ring!

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